The potential of the internet in Japan was first recognized after 1996. Now we cannot survive without internet access when working and even our private lives. Here I will discuss the types of internet access that are available in Japan and how to use them.
Main Types of Broadband (High-speed) Internet in Japan:
- Fiber optics, or FTTH, as it’s also called, is the fastest and most popular option for internet access in Japan, with a maximum speed of 100 or 200 Mbps, depending on your location.
- ADSL While ADSL is not as fast as FTTH, it’s still a speedy option, and it’s also typically cheaper than FTTH.
(Some companies are in the process of closing their ADSL service, so it may not be the best option anymore.)
- Cable / CATV Speeds are not as fast as FTTH and potentially not as a fast as ADSL and vary depending on service, location and packages. 30 Mbps seems to be the maximum speed in most cases, and the faster the connection the more you’ll pay.
- Mobile/Wimax This one has become more popular these days, with people preferring the option to have wifi with them everywhere they go. It’s important to note that the Wimax network isn’t yet available all over Japan, but have at least 95% coverage in major cities. The max speed is around 40 Mbps under best conditions.
Home broadband Internet: This might not be the case in your home country, but internet services in Japan are unbundled services, meaning that one company usually provides the line and another establishes the internet connection. NTT East and NTT West are major companies that provide the line and hardware. IPS’s called Provider (“purobaida” in Japanese), are the ones that get you an internet connection. There are a wide number of providers around the country.
Wireless (Wi-Fi) Hotspots: They have become more and more available. Tourists will find these networks at international airports, train stations, selected coffee shops, fast food stores, shopping malls and many tourist information desks. Some hotspots are only open for visitors, however there are still some Wi-Fi connections available at airport, train stations and some coffee shops for you.
These below are currently the three major, nationwide apps available that make connecting to free Wi-Fi hotspots easier:
• Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi
A smartphone app that unifies the registration process of over 100,000 free tourist hotspots by numerous companies and organizations so that visitors can use them all without having to register for each service individually. Registration of some personal data is required.
• Free Wi-Fi Passport
Two weeks (extendable) free access to approximately 400,000 Softbank hotspots at restaurants, cafes, major train stations, hotels and other locations across Japan. Registration is made by calling a toll-free number (*8180) from a foreign cellphone while connected to the Softbank network. Calling the number will get you a password.
Then at a hotspot with this logo,
enter your phone number and password.
• Travel Japan Wi-Fi
This is a free Wi-Fi service for overseas visitors to Japan. You can download and install the app, then enjoy access at more than 200,000 hotspots in Japan. When you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, information, tips, and recommendations about the local area will be sent to your device.